Today I woke up with every intention to meditate.
I love meditating in the morning. Out my windows I can see a bit of the morning sky, with palm trees silhouetted against it in the darkness, and I’ll admit it – I peek until it starts to get pink and I open my eyes and feel like nature is putting on a fabulous show just for me.
But there’s more. In yoga, meditating in the morning has the power to change even the deepest patterns within us. Here’s why:
We know that in the womb, negative events can make a lasting impression. Pour a whole bunch of toxins in to mamas body, and baby might have liver issues later. But once baby’s 20 – no problem.
Same with our emotions. If we’re not loved when we are 3, we may have a tendency to feel disconnected for our whole lives. Later – we do a little therapy and we’re good to go.
Think of early life like wet cement: everything makes an impression. Even into early childhood, according to Ayurveda, there is still a malleability to our physical, mental and emotional patterns. And this malleability goes away around the time of adolescence, when we begin to settle in to who we will be for life.
BUT – as we know from yoga and pretty much every spiritual tradition – early morning meditation is powerful.
My teacher Dr. Claudia Welch puts it this way: the energy of the 24 hour day is similar to the energy of the whole life cycle.
darkness ➟ pre-birth
dawn ➟ birth
mid-day ➟ active mid-life
evening ➟ old age
dusk ➟ death.
In a way, meditating in the morning before and during dawn allows us to tap into the energy of our pre-birth and early years. It puts us in a more malleable place, similar to the early years of childhood, when intentions and new visions can make a strong, lasting impression. During this time, patterns of thinking and behavior that seem often to be “just who I am” can actually be made more open to be shifted.
This malleability early in life is actually supported by Western neurological medicine. The nucleus basalis is a part of the brain that is “on” during early childhood. It makes the brain open to creating new neural pathways very easily (think about how easy it is for a child to learn a new language). And the nucleus basalis turns “off” when we reach adolescence (“New Research: Why Infants and Toddlers are So Exhausting”).
However, this part of our brain turns back “on” in some situations: sudden trauma (flood, earthquake); new, intense situations; and – get this – when we choose to pay close attention to something (like possibly right now, if you are very focused).
In other words, when we meditate, and we choose to focus on awareness itself, the nucleus basalis turns on and opens us up to new ways of thinking and feeling.
According to my teacher Dr. Claudia Welch (Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life), this is why meditating at dawn is like a magic elixir that with just a few drops can soften the hardened cement of our deep-seated patterns.
I do find that on the mornings when I meditate, my desires and intentions for the day seem to have more potency. Things go the way I hoped more often than when I don’t receive that magic elixir in first.
But – back to my morning – UNfortunately my daughter woke up way early and said “Mama I want you.”
So instead of meditating, I cuddled. At first I was disappointed and had a hard time letting go of my plan. Until I began feeling warm and good and happy and I remembered that there is another magic elixir that does the same thing to the brain: oxytocin.
We get the hormone oxytoxin from breastfeeding and whenever we have meaningful connections with other humans.
When we connect with our little ones – or anyone – lovingly, we can soften the cement of “it’s just who I am” and start discovering the divine feminine part of who we can be.
So put the nucleus basalis and the oxytocin together by allowing yourself to fall in love with meditating, and you have a powerful recipe for change:
Focus + Love = Positive Change
Here’s an easy way to get a loving relationship going with your meditation – use this image, and then just let it dissipate and just focus on the space between the thoughts for 2 minutes.
Try it mama – and please let me know how it goes!! I hope you love it.